Saturday, September 22, 2012

The simplicity of faith.

I've been doing some thinking about my past (again). I look back to my past and I notice something--I didn't want to change at all. I insisted that my ideas about being a wolf were entirely true, that I needed to make it happen, and that it would be stupid and hopeless for me to simply accept myself as a human being.

I rejected the idea that I truly needed Jesus in my life, because to me, if I truly gave my life over to God, I would have to change... and by no means was I ready to.

That's the excuse, isn't it? The thing we always say when it comes to a relationship with God--"I'm not ready to give up my ways."

The beautiful thing I also see, and that many Christians see... is that God didn't wait on me. God didn't wait for me to be willing to change before showing his love to me.

As I got older, I chose to accept that God really did love me (around age 15 or so). I started to pay more attention in Church and get involved in youth group discussions. The mystery of God slowly became clearer to me, and it became progressively more visible in spite of the life I was living, and in spite of the fact that I still didn't want to change. I would simply pray every other night that if there was something wrong with the things I was doing, that God would show me. I didn't think about it critically, I didn't read the Bible outside of Church to discover that, because I put such deep stock in the identity I'd created for myself that I was afraid to let it go.

But God never let up. I experienced him more and more, even as my choices worsened... until I was brought to the point where I understood the love of God enough that letting go of the life I lived was not only okay, but desirable.

I didn't logic through it, I didn't dissect my behaviors, I simply was shown that God had better, and that my choices were cutting me off from him... and I didn't want that anymore. I wanted a real relationship with God, and not because I decided to get religious, but because God revealed his love to me within the simple acceptance that he loved me, and that deep down I wanted to know his will, despite how contrary my life was to that.

I make my present problems so lofty and confusing, making it my job to fix myself... but in my past, not only did I not make "fixing myself" a job, I didn't even truly believe there was anything wrong most of the time.

It was all God... and it needs to be all God again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The suicide of unrepentance.

Saul started out humble, but as he gained fame he became arrogant. He started to tweak the commands God gave him to suit his own desires, and eventually, because of his pride, God left him altogether, and drew near to David instead. However, God did not make himself invisible to Saul. Saul knew very well that God was with David and had left him, but he didn't care. He simply wanted to be renowned as a king. He didn't repent of his arrogance, he didn't care to change his ways, and he made empty confessions to seemingly just appease God's anger (and he even stopped doing that after a certain point, and simply paid lip service to God!)

This unrepentant behavior of Saul's progressively ruined him. Even once demonic influences came into play, he looked for other outlets to soothe himself (most notably David and his harp) as opposed to seeing the attacks on him as an opportunity to repent and step back into God's will. He became more and more self-centered, even to the point of attempting repeatedly to kill David in order to restore his fame.

By around chapter 30 or so, Saul kills himself.

Our own unrepentant behavior can seem very subtle. In my case, my behavior involves a long line of lifestyle choices--spending a huge chunk of time online doing nothing but browsing the internet and playing video games. While neither of those things on their own are bad, my heart behind them (especially as of late) has not been good.

I don't even know where to begin with all the implications of Saul's life. You could practically write a book on him (not sure if I just made Bible pun there). The primary point that I want to make however, is that unrepentant behavior is far more hazardous than we may think, no matter how subtle it may seem in small doses... and the cure for it is far simpler than we make it.

When I'm living in unrepentant sin, it seems so complex, as if there were some major math problem I had to solve in order to change my behavior... but friends, it's not complex. Jesus did all the work--all that's left is to repent of our sin and to turn away from the desire to put ourselves above God and our friends. 

That's all that's left.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blind to bondage.

When I created this blog, I chose to call it "One Once Bound," noting that I was bound to sin, and that I am now set free. In a fair number of my posts I attempt to echo that idea with text that suggests that I had a problem, but I learned something new and suddenly don't have a problem anymore... only to find myself still struggling and needing to learn more.

Throughout all this, I think it's fair to say I've still been bound up in a sense--serving a master that demanded my worship and surrender, a master that I feared to leave and claimed that I would be nothing without it. Sounds a lot like God, right? Here's the problem--that's not the master I've been afraid of.

I could make this post centralize around idolatry in general, but here I want to talk about my heaviest, most imprisoning idol. An idol that since I was eleven years old, I have worshiped and yearned for. I poured out all I had for this idol, gave myself away and even was willing to completely lose myself, to throw away my entire life and become a completely different creature. Again, sounds a bit like how a Christian is saved, becomes a new creation in Christ, and surrenders their all to him (but that is a bit different than what I'm referring to).

I started this blog after I left my life of totemism, after I decided that I would no longer practice what was basically witchcraft in order to become a wolf and lose my humanity. However, the idea itself of becoming a wolf (a werewolf in particular) has still very much been an idol. Whenever I've felt weak, I've run to that idea and allowed myself to give into it emotionally, sensually, and even sexually through masturbation, clinging to this idea that if I gave myself to the idea of becoming a bigger, stronger creature in every way possible, I would find strength that I felt I had to have. Something else I noticed just tonight however, was that I didn't simply run to transformation fantasies when I felt weak. I've searched for it in everything--the feel of fur, things on TV that reminded me of werewolves, even in just seeing animals in general... anything that gave me an excuse to fantasize, I nonchalantly searched for without even realizing it.

The picture of a man's relationship with an idol is painted very well in Isaiah 44. Here's an excerpt:

18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Basically, this passage is saying that someone who worships an idol, even though their worship may be blatant, they aren't aware of what they're really doing. Lesser idols, in my experience, can be looked at in one's life and identified as a problem and be readily dealt with. Major idols however, are ever-present, and through many venues are worshiped by a person... without that person even realizing that it's idol worship!

I know from here it will be a heavy battle to let go of this idol in my life, but at least now it's been revealed for what it is. This now requires that I very deeply examine my heart for the furry fandom as well as the art form in general, and see if I'm using it as a venue to worship transformation, or to truly worship the one, true God.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My musings on therianthropy

This post is a bit of a deviation from my usual format, and it may make some of my readers uncomfortable. Before I begin, if this content offends or discourages you, I apologize and I promise that I have no such intent in this post.

Let me open up with something that happened to me.

I forget how it came about, but I wound up having a discussion with a therian friend of mine about Adam and Eve. The friend argued that in Genesis chapter 2, while Adam was looking for a worthy companion amongst the animals and could find none, he should've chosen the wolf as his companion (thus creating a grey area insinuating that he should've mated with the wolf (eww) or that he would've never sinned if he'd not needed Eve).

To most others, this notion would be hilarious (no offense intended, friend). However, to me, I was infuriated. I couldn't fathom how someone could come up with such theology to attempt to support a therianistic viewpoint. Fuming mad, I left my computer and went outside to think. I wanted to know the real reason why I was mad.

I stood outside in the freezing cold and in the dark, and prayed. I asked God to search my heart and show me why I was so upset with my friend for his views. I came to find myself angry not because his theology seemed so unsound, but because somewhere in my head, it sounded like something I somewhat wished myself (remember, I was a totemist for a long time). That led me to ponder--why did God make me human?

Let me throw some verses out here:

Romans 9:20-21: But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

This points out that God created us the way we are for a reason, and that because God is perfect and makes no mistakes, we are no one to tell him that our present form is a mistake on his part.

Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

In-context, it's not saying that God has appointed us to all be prophets or teachers. It is however noting God's sovereign plan for our lives--one that was set in motion for us before we were even created.

Psalm 139: 13-16: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

This verse notes the intricate way in which God created us and the care he took in doing so. God didn't just slap a bunch of limbs together or regurgitate us into existence--he put us together intricately, and planned out our days.

Passages in scripture flooded my mind as I pondered my humanity. Why did God create me as a human? What purpose did he have in doing so?

I reasoned that, just as God plans out the days of his creations, he could have very easily seen what my life would've been like as a wolf or any other animal. He likely saw that I wouldn't be able to draw or sing or learn Japanese, or do any of the other things I can now. I would have family still, sure, and I may even have fallen in love. But my creativity, my ability to express myself in eloquent or artistic ways would not exist, nor would any such desire be present. You don't exactly see wolves playing Mozart or recreating the Mona Lisa!

God created us as we are because he saw the lives we would live, what we would learn, what we would do for His Kingdom in our own unique ways... the span of our lives as humans reflected his glory best--that's why we're human.

If you're not a theist, then consider this: If you're a therian and assume that your life would've been better if you weren't human to begin with, or that you're destined to lose your humanity somehow one day, what will you no longer be able to do that you can do now? If you can draw, will you be able to draw anymore? If you can sing, will you be able to sing anymore? If you can write stories or poetry, will you be able to do any of that anymore?

Humans are the only ones who can create and express themselves in such beautiful ways... why give that up or want to throw it away?